Drug Rehab; it Ain’t Rehab Yet.

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Drug rehab, like the  “War on Drugs” is a fraud and failure.

I served on the GR mayor’s task force on drugs in the late 90s and was one of few members who didn’t have an agenda; many others were affiliated with various drug rehab schemes or programs. They all claimed success and wanted money to continue their work. It struck me as strange that so many different approaches could all be so successful; I looked more deeply into the drug rehab literature.

There was only one proper study and it was on rehabbing alcohol abusers.  It had been published in the New England Journal of Medicine around 1992. The researchers actually did a randomized, (but of course, not blinded) study in which the control group were told that they would be fired if found drunk again while the treatment group were admitted to an intensive and expensive in-patient facility costing $10,000. The differences after things settled down was that the treated group drank one drink less than the controls. Not significantly different.

I could find no other properly done studies (and believe that none have been done since) that support the public expenses that these rehab programs demand.
I explained my doubts to the task force members, and the drug rehab types were all taken aback; “We have yet to do those studies” “Our work is so important that we can’t withhold treatment to do the studies” “You can’t deny our patients the hopes that they have (Or is it denial of the money that these proprietors expect to make?”

More recently Buprenorphine-naloxone has become available. There are only observational studies so all we know is that those self selected addicts who took buprenorphine took buprenorphine, and so were different from a self selected group that didn’t take, or were not offered buprenorphine. The difference is simply a word game and until a random control study (which is not all that hard to do) is published, we might save the taxpayer the millions of dollar tribute that these enthusiastic hustlers feel themselves entitled to claim.


Paid for by Erwin Haas